Political parties in parliament give hints about who they may nominate for Phala Phala panel

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Some political parties in Parliament have already hinted at names they’ll put forward as nominees on the envisaged independent panel of experts. This follows National Assembly Speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s announcement that a new panel will be established to conduct a preliminary assessment on the proposed impeachment of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

During her announcement last week, Mapisa-Nqakula said all political parties represented in Parliament will be given an opportunity to submit names of their own nominees for the panel.

Leader of the African Transformation Movement Vuyolwethu Zungula proposed the motion in relation to Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm saga.

Congress of the People (COPE), African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) have given different names as their preferences, including reasons for their chosen candidates.

Former judges seem to dominate the list of those who are proposed to serve on the three-member panel. COPE national spokesperson, Dennis Bloem says the allegations against the President are serious and therefore need some sharp legal minds.

“This is an extremely serious investigation. President Cyril Ramaphosa is the head of state. We cannot just appoint any people from the street. It must be people with independent minds, credible people with integrity. We firmly believe that retired Judge Sisi Khampepe, retired Judge Edwin Cameron and the former public protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela will fit these criteria,” says Bloem.

But, the IFP, however, says it’s still applying its mind.

“My caucus has been informed of the processes and we also note that the date to submit those names is the first of September. We currently applying our minds and we will in due course submit names with motivations to the office of the Speaker. However in doing this, we will consider the independence of the individual and the integrity of the individual,” says IFP Chief Whip Narend Singh.

The ACDP says it already has names to consider but it has not made a final selection. “The ACDP is considering proposing judge Sisi Kampepe, Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza and Johan de Waal. Although we still have to finalise our nomination as the cut-off date is still in September-we believe that such a panel would not only meet the criteria set out in the rules but these members have already performed a similar function in a commendable manner when assessing the prima facie evidence against the public protector. We will consider these or candidates of a similar stature given the serious allegations that involved the president of the country,” says ACDP Senior MP Steve Swarts.

The PAC says it plans to put forward three names. “The PAC of Azania will prefer that eminent and trustworthy personalities such as the retired judges Bernard Ngoepe and Dikgang Moseneke and Bishop Mvume Dandala be considered. The reason we forward the name of Bishop Mvume Dandala is because this matter is not only legal but it also touches the question of ethics and morals,” argues PAC president Mzwanele Nyhontso.

Political analyst, Ntsikelelo Breakfast has described the appointment of an independent panel as a fascinating decision by the Speaker.

“If this matter is taken to court, for instance, it will be a blow to the ANC because it will mean that there is no separation of powers. But, at the same time, her posture is an expression of biasness because she has chosen to take the longest root. Because this process that will be followed is very cumbersome because it has three stages in it,” says Breakfast.

VIDEO: Phala Phala farm Probe – Some political parties are ready to propose names for a panel